Marina Warner

Inventory of a Life Mislaid: An Unreliable Memoir

Non-fiction, Recently published

First published by Harper Collins in the UK (now available in paperback), Inventory of a Life Mislaid follows Marina Warner’s beautiful, penniless young mother Ilia as she leaves southern Italy in 1945 to travel alone to London. Her husband, an English colonel, is still away in the war in the East as she begins to learn how to be Mrs Esmond Warner, an Englishwoman. In May 2022, the New York Review of Books published this ‘unreliable memoir’ in the US as Esmond and Ilia (available here).

Read more about the book on the ‘Recently Published’ option at the top of this page, under the ‘Publications’ drop down menu.


The suppleness and pizazz of her prose […] wondrously entertaining, an ideal book for a long, hot summer’ – ‘Marina Warner’s new book evokes the vanished glamour of yesterday

Michael Dirda, Washington Post (8 June 2022)

Essayist, scholar, fabulist, scintillating critic of art, literature and life – Warner is a writer of extravagant learning and rare allure.

Brian Dillon, Irish Times (6 May 2021)

Warner is such a skillful and imaginative writer that much of this and the rest of the book reads like lived experience. …This brave, painful, dazzling memoir is riveting.

Anthony Sattin, The Spectator (24 April 2021)

This is a wonderfully rich, partly mythical memoir that sifts through the past to connect a family’s secrets to the deep-rooted colonial assumptions that still resonate in a post-Brexit Britain.

Ann Kennedy Smith, TLS (26 March 2021)

Other editions

First published by Harper Collins, 2021